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Veppilai Katti June 23, 2007

Posted by live2cook in Pickles and Condiments.

Two days ago, I was all set with my post for this week’s alphabet “V” in Nupur’s A-Z of Vegetables event. The final proof reading and hitting the publish button were the things that I had to do. I decided that I will be doing it on Thursday evening after returning from work. But things drastically changed when I happened to see a wonderful set of photos.

At my work, they conduct a photography competition every year and the photos of the winners and the finalists will be used in the coming year’s calendar. They pick eligible photos through a poll. The final day for casting the vote was on Friday.

As always, I took a look at those photos with the intention that I might get some ideas on photography and it will be useful for my blog. There was a category “Photo essay” in which the contestants had expressed their views in 3 photos. One such essay caught my attention. They were very simple photos, A 90 year old Grand Mother and her grand child were the theme of the photos. The Grand child was sitting in the lap of the grandma and the 3 photos explained them enjoying their moment. The happiness in the grandma’s face and the feeling of warmth and comfort in the child’s face……

During the long drive back home, I was filled with the memories of my Grandma. The moments we spent together…especially helping her when she worked with the mortar and pestle (Ammikkal, ural) in our backyard… The unique recipes she prepared….The taste of her “Veppilai katti”….

I thought, wait! Wait! Wait! what was that? Hmmmmmmmm! … “Veppilai katti”. Wow! what a perfect recipe for “V” alphabet in A-Z of vegetables… But there is no vegetable in this….what to do…Green leafy items also fall under vegetables….Cool! and that was it.

The Plan changed, from that moment on, my entry was going to be “Veppilai Katti”. But wait! I did not remember how my grandma used to prepare it? I knew she used curry leaves and Naraththai(citrus) leaves. I did not know the complete recipe. With no hope and with grandma not around, I typed “Veppilai katti” in google and viola! there was one recipe!!! The recipe post gives very interesting explanation to the name.

I jumped into action and made some variation to the original recipe.

The recipe is:

1/2 cup Curry leaves
1/2 cup Kaffir lime leaves (Since Kaffir lime leaves have very strong citrus flavor than Indian lime leaves, I took equal amount as Curry Leaves)
2 tablespoons Ajwain seeds
1 tablespoon Dried Naraththai pieces (optional) (Since the recipe gets the aroma from Naraththai Leaves and they are not available in US, I used a small piece of the dried fruit)
1/4 cup Dried Red Chili pieces
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Asafetida
Juice of 1 Lime + 2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon Jaggery
( I added jaggery to balance the hot and sour taste)



1. In a spice grinder, powder the Ajwain, Red chili pieces, salt, Asafetida and Jaggery.
2. Coarsely grind the Curry leaves, Dried Naraththai pieces (if using) and Lime leaves.
3. Mix the ground leaves and the spice powder.
4. Mix the Lemon juice.

I Pounded everything to the desired consistency in a Stone Mortar and Pestle.


Keeping with the tradition, I shaped it to round.

Veppilai Katti

The Recipe yielded a lemon sized ball of “Veppilai Katti”. Use in small amounts as condiment. We can store it for months in refrigerator. “Veppilai Katti” aids in digestion.



1. Nupur - June 23, 2007

This is a beautiful post! I am so thrilled that you were able to recreate something as a reminder of good times with your grandma. This paste looks so flavorful, and the fact that it has been hand-made in that gorgeous mortar-pestle is awesome!

2. bee - June 23, 2007

does it taste close to the one made with citrus leaf? ‘cos if it does, i too would like to prepare it with kaffir lime leaves. thanks for this great post and recipe.

3. live2cook - June 23, 2007

Nupur – I am very happy that I got a chance to recreate one of my childhood’s favorite recipe. Thank you very much for your comment.

Bee – The answer is Yes. The taste turned out to be similar to that of my grandma’s “Veppilai Katti”. In this recipe, the taste and smell of Ajwain over powers other ingredients and gives the same aroma and taste. But I got to admit that the “tingly” after taste that “Naraththai” leaves would have given is missing. I am sure you would love it when you use Kaffir lime leaves.

Thank you for visiting and appreciate your comment.

4. viji - June 23, 2007

This is something authentic. Very nice and cute pestle. A good job. Viji

5. Sig - June 24, 2007

Hey I thought veppilai was neem leaf, or did the name come from kariveppilai? BTW, I love your blog name… πŸ™‚

6. Suganya - June 24, 2007

Veppilai ilai katti or Narthai ilai podi as we call it with a bowl of curd rice is all I want. My MIL makes excellent podi with leaves from her MIL’s garden. She made a big batch last time I went to India. I still have it. A mere sniff is enough to revive all those memories of eating that with pazhaya saadam in my granny’s house..

Great work on making this recipe with what you could lay your yr hands on πŸ™‚ Why do you have dried narathai pieces? Do you use in any recipe? because there is plenty in my MIL’s MIL’s (??!!) garden. I can get some.

shashi - April 4, 2013

could you let me know of any website of stores that sell/ship vepallaikatti?
I would be very greatful to you.
Am living in the USA and have been literally dying to have them!
Appreciate your reply to vishmahim@gmail.com
Thank you πŸ™‚

7. live2cook - June 24, 2007

Viji – Thank you!

Sig – You are right, Veppilai means Neem Leaf. I am not sure as to why our ancestors called this recipe Veppilai Katti when we don’t use Veppilai in it. I will try finding out why it was named so πŸ™‚

Suganya – That is exactly what I ate yesterday :). In my home town they cure narthangai with salt and turmeric for one week and then sun dry it which is popularly know as “Uppu Narthangai”. We can reconstitute the dried pieces with hot water and make pickle similar to that of lime pickle. I have used dried naraththai to make naraththai puri and other recipe that call for it. Last time when I went to India, I brought a bag full. When I run out of it, you will be the first person I will ask πŸ™‚

8. Arun Kumar K. - January 18, 2011


I am familiar with Narthangai, but not with Naraththai. What is it? Is it a fruit similar to Narthangai? My mom makes uppu narthangai like what you told..

9. shashi - March 10, 2013

will someone please please let me know from where i can get to buy Vepalaikatti online and have it shipped to the USA? Am craving for it and i am searching high and low for it browsing the web for 2 whole days and nights!!! 😦

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